Climate Change Response Bill 2010
This post was written by Richard Tol
Art 1-3 are preliminaries. Art 4 has the emission reduction targets:
- Emission reduction should be 2.5% per year on average between 2008 and 2020. The bill seems to say that 2020 emissions should be 28% below 2007 emissions (i.e., 52 mln tCO2eq). The memorandum says that 2020 emissions should be 26% below 2008 emissions (i.e., 50 mln tCO2eq).
- 2030 emissions should be 40% below 1990 emissions.
- 2050 emissions should be 80% below 1990 emissions.
(In fact, the base year is 1995 for the F-gases and 1990 for the other greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 1995, emissions of F-gases rose from 0.06 mln tCO2eq to 0.20 mln tCO2eq so the dual base year just complicates things.)
The 2030 target seems to follow from the fact that 2030 is halfway between 2010 and 2050 and 40% is halfway between 0% and 80%. Annual emission reduction is to be 2.5% between 2010 and 2020, 3.9% between 2020 and 2030, and 5.3% between 2030 and 2050.
Art 5 creates a National Climate Change Plan. Art 6 establishes an annual statement to the Dail. Art 7-10 create a National Climate Change Expert Advisory Body. (The memorandum clarifies that no new expert will be hired.)
Art 11 orders public bodies to have regard for the climate bill and report progress to the Minister of the Environment.
Compared to the Oireachtas bill (discussed here), the Government bill creates much less bureaucracy. That is a good thing. Like the Oireachtas bill, the Government bill has nothing on how the targets are to achieved. This is a serious omissions. It is all good and well to announce a target, but there is more to policy.
The targets are very ambitious, as discussed here. Fortunately, the memorandum assures us that “[t]his Bill does not have immediate significant financial implications for the Exchequer.” The crucial word is “immediate”. The 2020 targets are notably more stringent than the EU targets, and we’re well on track to miss those (at least, according to the EER2010).
ETS emissions are controlled by the EU rather than by the Irish government. That implies that the additional emission reduction effort for 2020 will fall entirely on the non-ETS sectors. The EU targets are to reduce ETS emissions by 21% in 2020 (relative to 2005) and non-ETS emissions by 20%. The government target is to reduce non-ETS emissions by 37% in 2020 (relative to 2005).
In 2008, non-ETS emissions were about 48 mln tCO2eq, 38% in agriculture, 30% in transport, 16% in households, 9% in services, and 7% in manufacturing.
Note that I assume throughout that LULUCF is as defined for the Kyoto Protocol. Note also that the climate bill is silent on this.
UPDATE 3: There is a Regulatory Impact Assessment, which contains the gem that if you raise energy prices through a carbon tax it would affect the vulnerable and competitiveness, but if you raise energy prices through other means there would be no such impact.
Tags: climate change